Crossings are areas of change and transition – they span barriers, creating suspended moments in time that can lead to chance encounters between travellers.
Crossings are not just physical or observable phenomena; human beings are in a constant state of transition, reshaping our selves and our ideas as we respond to new stimulation.
Echoing the proportions of the two Fremantle traffic bridges and the deepest channel of the river, Tightness Times Toughness (TxT) was a major new installation and participatory artwork by Fremantle-based artist Bruno Booth.
Audiences were invited to navigate the TxT corridors, to experience moments of crossing: where one place becomes another, where one moment lapses into the next, and where a person is remade by their experiences.
Presented for CROSSING 2021.
Bruno Booth has used a wheelchair for most of his life, interrupted by a short and unsuccessful career as an amateur stilt walker when he used prosthetic legs as a child. In his memory, these leather and metal devices would not have been out of place on the set of some dystopian, apocalyptic epic – not in a cool and attractive Fury Road sort of way, but more like the zombies in the original Walking Dead. The experience of wearing restrictive equipment left him with a dislike of tight-fitting clothing, a love of speed and a need to reach over his head in supermarkets. As a child he made the decision to use a wheelchair as his primary mode of transport, and he’s never looked back (probably because he’s too busy looking out for sand pits on dark footpaths).
Having a disability has been a constant background hum throughout Bruno’s life. Kind of like a social tinnitus – you know it’s there, but you try not to talk about it. It was only when he started to call himself an artist, without cringing too much, that he began to engage critically with what it meant to be categorised as disabled.
Bruno’s recent work uses participation and large sculptural forms to create experiential works that challenge the able bodied to navigate a world that is uncomfortable by design. His constructed experiences poke fun at the assumptions many people have about disability, while leaving lasting impressions that engender a deeper response from the audience.
Bruno has recently been a resident artist at Fremantle Arts Centre (2019), Testing Grounds, Melbourne (Vic) (2019), PICA (2017) and North Metropolitan TAFE (2017). He is working on shows for PICA (WA) 2021, Art Gallery of Western Australia (WA) 2021, Seventh Galleries (Vic) 2022, The Joondalup Invitation Art Prize (WA) 2021 and The University of Tasmania (Tas) 2022.